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Disney Refuses Guests Entry to Resort: “Delusions of Grandeur”

guest refused entry disney world
Credit: Disney

A guest recently explained how he and his family were not allowed into a Disney Resort, and because of this, the resort hotel ended up losing out on a ton of business for the night.

mickey mouse and minnie mouse

Credit: Taha, Unsplash

The Walt Disney World Resort is a Disney Park vacation that many families all over the world aspire to and yearn to experience. From the amazing rides and attractions to themed lands and Pandora and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s a lot to love about the Disney experience.

But things do go awry.

cinderella castle magic kingdom

Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Greg Park, Unsplash

Guest Explains He Was Refused Entry to Park for Dinner at Art of Animation

A guest recently took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to explain how he and his family were denied entry into Disney’s Art of Animation resort, which they wanted to have dinner at, for no other reason except they were not official guests of the Disney resort hotel; i.e., they were not staying at AoA.

Derek Burgan explained“We were not allowed past the guard gate because we did not have a hotel reservation. Explained situation to guard, and we were right outside an area where you can see well over 100 open car parking spaces.” 

disney's art of animation sign at resort entrance in bright colors at dusk

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / Credit: Becky Burkett

Related: “Apocalyptic Hellscape”: Guest Succinctly Shares Unpopular Opinion About “Horrible” Disney World

Burgan continued in his thread, “I guess to their credit (in Disney’s mind at least) the guard was unwavering. The only answer we got was that there was a sandwich board next to the gate that said parking was for guests only.” 

However, as the guest pointed out, while this policy might have made sense if Disney was making sure guests didn’t arrive early to park at resorts and skip paying for parking at a Disney Park, it’s unlikely that he and his family were doing that at 7 p.m. at night.

The family had wanted to have dinner and enjoy the Cars-themed area at the resort hotel since Burgan’s son was a huge fan of the franchise.

The Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

Burgan concluded, “Long story short, we drove home. Disney lost out on at least $100 for dinner and probably $250 or more overall because they wouldnt allow a car into a parking lot with tons of open spaces for an hour or so because a sandwich board says no.” 

Burgan was incredibly disillusioned with the Disney Resort, as were many other guests who pointed out Universal—one of Disney’s primary competitors—has an easy fix to this offering, which allows guests to shop and dine at various resorts without being guests there (for a fee, of course).

hogwarts castle, harry potter, universal islands of adventure

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

The guest wrote, “Current WDW has delusions of grandeur.”

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? What are your thoughts on what happened? Let Disney Dining know in the comments! 

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

33 comments

  1. Educate yourself on the rules about Disney Resorts. They do their best at crowd control and people trying to get around the rules. In fact, they instituted parking fees for resort guests staying on property not tok long ago, bc non-registered guests were taking up parking spaces to take the free shuttle to the parks.
    The sandwich board, hasd the indigant man read it, likely provided notification of where they could oark. I feel sorry for his family and the guard at the gate who had to endure his torade.

    • Typo correction
      Too, Had, indignant, park, tirade.

    • There is no longer a fee to park at any of the resorts.

      And if they’d had a reservation for dinner, then yes, even being non-resort guests, they could have parked there.

      • Why do people feel they have the right or entitledment to change rules that organizations have(?). Paying or not those are their rules . Respect them or go somewhere else, that’s what my parents or grand-parents would do. Some order or system has to be kept in big places like Disney…

    • When we went last year, we went and dined at a resort that we weren’t staying at. However, we had reservations at that restaurant. I think that may be the reason you weren’t let in.

    • We used to go to the Polynesian resort as a non-guest and just go for the nightly Polynesian luau and show. We never had a problem with patking in the hotel lot. This must be a new policy and will drive away business.

    • Disney’s loss–not the family’s. Art of Animation’s restaurant isn’t exactly a high-end steakhouse. That’s like driving to Boston because your kid wants a Dunkin Donut. Disney was lucky to have them as customers. Pro tip: if a customer is willing to pay $100 to have you serve them Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles on a paper plate, you want that customer.

  2. I have never had this issue, as a resort guest I have and will continue to dine at multiple resorts. I’ve dinned at a different resort before I’ve checked into my chosen resort. ?????Where you staying on property?

  3. The simplest solution would have been to board Disney transportation at the resort they were staying and ride to a Skyliner station at a Park entrance .From there it would have been a great ride to the station between Pop Century and AOA and a short walk to their destination!

  4. The point is, this guy wasn’t staying at any park resorts….. Disney does this for their “guests” they were not guests. All he had to do was go park in the proper area , he didn’t want to do this…. This guy is the one with the problem. Being a guest is a huge expense and why should someone that is paying big money to stay there give up their space. This person has no idea how many hotel guest are coming and going. The rules are in place for a reason. Until you have stayed at one of their resorts (and paid a premium for doing so) and can’t find a parking space, then hold your tongue.

  5. We recently had a 12:30 reservation at Beaches and Cream (Beach Club). We arrived at 11:50. Wanted to enjoy Y&B and Boardwalk area … The guard would not allow us to park until 20 min before the reservation time.

  6. Easy fix. Park your car at Disney Springs. Then catch a bus to a resort. Bus back to Disney Springs to retrieve your car.

  7. Universal is more than happy to have you and charge 45 dollars or more for parking! Get your facts straight before publishing one side of a story please!

    • Did he have a valid dining reservation at AOA? If not makes sense to me. You either are a guest staying at resort or have a valid dining reservation on your MDE account. Otherwise, park somewhere else and take buss ir skyliner in.

      • Animal Kingdom Lodge would not let us in for stand by seating at Sanaa. Even though we were staying at fort wilderness displaying a parking pass. Showed the guard that it was an available option on the Disney app. Asked if we had ordered take out how would we of picked it up and were told to take the bus.

  8. As a frequent resort guest, I appreciate the areas reserved for guests of the specific resorts. It assured those who are paying for the amenities are able to take advantage of them more easily. In many years of Disney experiences, I have only had a couple less than perfect ones and they were easily remedied. I will add that the gate pass process a few years ago was far superior to what it was changed to a couple years back. Hoping they reconsider and bring that back.

    • Disney is a woke joke. I use to run a huge multiplex entertainment theater and would catch atleast 20 people a day sneaking in. What did you think I did when I caught them? You would be wrong if you said kick them out. If you kick them out they watched some of the movie and what did we get out of it? Nothing. I told them they could stay if they bought food at the concession. Guess what? They spent more money at the concession then anybody did on tickets! Win win for everyone. Disney is lost

  9. I either take a bus over from DS or if you make reservations you’re name will be at the gate.

    • We travel to the resorts all the time for dinner and seasonal snacks. The guards never refuse us entry. The usually direct us where to park. Maybe more to this story than posted.

      • There’s always more than 1 side to every story, especially when it comes to the hospitality industry
        Just because you weren’t able to do what you wanted, the way you wanted to, doesn’t make it the resorts fault
        Clearly, you should have researched all your options…rules are made for a reason and they’re applicable to all, not “everyone but you”

  10. Hooray for the guard for correctly doing his job!
    Rules are that unless you have a dining reservation at a hotel restaurant, parking in the hotel property is not permitted.
    AoA does not have a restaurant, it has a food court.

    • Oh no, Disney lost out on $250 of revenue that night!!!! There’s delusions of grandeur in these accounts alright, but I don’t think their own Disney’s side.

      • This articl did not do it’s follow up research. This guest was also clearly the issue because he actively did not follow the rules. AoA has a good court no restaurants that require reservations. You are more than welcome to view the properties if you are an actual Disney guests but certain resorts are restricted to those guests only. AoA is attached to pop century via the bridge and skyline. They had many ways to either go to a park and transport there or go to DS and ride from there. You can access certain resorts with food reservations but parking is limited and why they have MANY ways for Actual guests to get around (shuttles, boats, monorails, skyline..) lastly, Disney didn’t miss out on 250$, that guy is deranged. That’s barely one ticket and the resorts, especially AoA makes tons of money 🤦🏼‍♀️

  11. If you have a reservation or are an on property guest you can park anywhere in Disney World. It’s all about checking the rules. Lots of families sped a ton of money to stay, eat and play at Disney and there are some people who really take advantage of holes in the system so rules are put in place to prevent that. I don’t think it has anything to do with “Delusions of Grandeur”. I’m sure they would be happy to take your money as long as you play by the rules.

  12. Inquisitor Valentine

    Lmfao oh nooo they lost out on 250 whatever shall the company that makes millions or so a day ever do? 🤣 what is it with people thinking they should just be allowed to do as they please? Rules apply to all but you and yours? Nah no excuse to not looking up rules in advance

  13. Animal Kingdom Lodge would not let us in for stand by seating at Sanaa. Even though we were staying at fort wilderness displaying a parking pass. Showed the guard that it was an available option on the Disney app. Asked if we had ordered take out how would we of picked it up and were told to take the bus.

  14. Lori Vandermeir

    Some of the resorts will turn you away. I have been turned away. I think the Skyliner resorts are especially strict any time of the day because people want to come and ride the Skyliner. They will always let you in if you have a dining reservation at the resort. Around holidays and busy times I have noticed that they turn guests away from most of the resorts. You can always reach any Disney resort via Disney Springs or the parks on the bus/Skyliner or boats. I do agree with this practice as people pay more for the conveniences provided at the resorts and it’s not right that so many abuse it. I was only going to try and get the beignets at POFQ when I got turned away but now I understand why and will find other ways to get to resorts.

  15. $250 is nothing to Disney. This person seems entitled or thinks very highly of theirself. He’s proud to be cheap. (LOL in a Disney laugh)

  16. Disney has gone too woke so I guess they will now see the fallout just as other woke products and companies like Bud Light and Target. However, I will say that I’m glad they are doing this. When we went to Disney World for our honeymoon in the early 2000s, we couldn’t even go to the restaurant in our own resort because people were filling up the reservation spots, who weren’t even paying guests. And believe me, it wasn’t cheap to stay at the Grand Floridian. We stayed there for an entire week and still never had a chance to eat at the beautiful restaurant on the premises. We were told this happens all of the time and should’ve made a reservation at the very beginning. We now know it but do not have plans to visit the park anytime soon. They should’ve kept their nose out of politics and stayed neutral. But no, had to interject their woke ideologies. But, in the long run, it doesn’t hurt me one bit. But it will hurt their bottom line and back pockets eventually. I guess they’ll learn their lesson as well. Or maybe not.

    • Sounds like they’re having to do the same thing there that they do at the monorail resorts, so people can’t park there and go into the parks. Since that new skyliner connects that resort to two parks, they probably started having issues.

    • Oh no! Someone who doesn’t believe in things like equal rights for marginalized groups isn’t going to Disney any more because they’re too “woke”! Whatever will they do??

      Yeah, they’re fine. I’ll go your turns. No problem.

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